Lido di Venezia beach is well known thanks to the Film Festival that takes place here every year. However, this is an island full of many other surprises.
Lido di Venezia beach is located a few minutes from St. Mark’s Square.
The Venice Lido is a 12 km long strip of land between the Lagoon of Venice and the Adriatic Sea. Lido means the main part of the settlement, because on the same island there are two other places: Malamocco and Alberoni. The peculiarity of this island, which you will notice as soon as you land, is that compared to the historic centre of Venice there is a road network here where cars normally circulate.
Our advice is to experience the island and get in touch with its atmosphere between the elegant architecture of the Art Nouveau villas, nature and a breathtaking skyline.
Discover the beach of Lido di Venezia and much more. In fact, this is a special island that is worth getting to know for all that it has to offer.
Lido di Venezia beach. Glam and fashion
In the 1930s, the beach at Lido di Venezia became world famous thanks to the International Film Festival, which attracted actors and directors from every continent. Even today, every year, between late August and early September, the festival turns the spotlight on this island, which becomes a destination for many film enthusiasts and the curious.
One of the most famous stretches is the beach in front of the Hotel Excelsior, where the Film Festival was born in 1932 and where today it is possible to see more or less famous Italian and international VIPs during the days of the festival.
The splendid restaurant hall of the Hotel Excelsior was made renowned thanks to cinema because it was chosen as the set for a famous scene in Sergio Leone’s film “Once Upon a Time in America” (1984).
The Hotel Des Bains beach has also become famous thanks to a film. Scenes from Luchino Visconti’s “Death in Venice” (1971), based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Mann, were filmed there and inspired his masterpiece.
Today, the hotel has lost its original function and it is not yet known what will happen in its near future.
A structure that stands out to the curious visitor for its elegant majesty. Inaugurated on 5 July 1900, the Hotel Des Bains presents itself in all its splendour and modernity. It was immediately equipped with many comforts for the time, such as electric lighting, telephone, lifts, private bathrooms, drinking water, refrigerators and iceboxes.
The building was also the set for another award-winning film, “The English Patient” by director Anthony Minghella (1997).
Many illustrious names have stayed there, from the aforementioned writer Thomas Mann to journalist Elsa Maxwell, the Shah of Persia Reza Pahlevi and King Farouk of Egypt.
The beach of San Nicolò is certainly one of the most popular with Venetians, who like to rent one of the many huts here for the entire summer season or spend a day relaxing.
Also note this one: the beach in the Alberoni nature reserve. A beach with sand dunes and a beautiful pine forest that make it wild, a favourite spot for Lord Byron for his morning horseback rides.
Venice Lido. The Art Nouveau villas and more
The Lido di Venezia is also famous for its Art Nouveau villas. Elegant, with refined architecture and full of charm, some of them are made unique and extraordinary by the frescoes and mosaics on their facades.
Many are characterised by their beautiful green and flowering gardens and the wrought-iron gates that surround them. Strolling around Lido di Venezia you can admire them in all their magnificence.
As we were saying, however, the Lido is not just about the beach or the Film Festival. Among the interesting things to know and see there is a real piece of history: one of the first airports in Italy was built here.
The airport dedicated to Giovanni Nicelli, in the San Nicolò area, is still active today and is used for take-offs and landings of small private tourist planes as well as being the starting point for breathtaking helicopter tours to see Venice from above.
Notable for its 1930s architecture, Nicelli Airport is ranked as the third most beautiful airport in the world by the BBC.
The Jewish cemetery on the Lido di Venezia, created in 1386 on uncultivated land in S. Nicolò granted by the Venetian Republic to the city’s Jews, has also been rich in history and charm.
At the time, however, the property was claimed by the friars of the convent of San Nicolò and a dispute ensued which ended in 1389. At that point, the cemetery was not only used without any more problems, but it was also enlarged, reaching its maximum expansion in 1641.
After complete abandonment in the late 1930s, the cemetery was restored in 1999 and can now be visited on guided tours by prior arrangement.
Visit the Venice Lido by bike
To visit and experience the island of Lido di Venezia at its best, we recommend a bike tour.
You will be able to experience the island by bike and enjoy every single metre of it. You will be able to admire the beauties we have listed above and get to know every corner of this place, such as the ancient village of Malamocco (in ancient times “Metamaucum”) with its small and interesting Palazzo del Podestà, a Gothic-style building that preserves some archaeological finds, and the 12th-century church of Santa Maria Assunta.
But that’s not all, on the way back along the Lagoon you will be able to see interesting places such as the island of Poveglia, the island of Lazzaretto Vecchio and San Lazzaro degli Armeni.
And then it’s time to get off the bike and have an aperitif with your tour mates!